For as long as the beauty industry has existed, it has been associated with words like “vain” and “frivolous.” Here at Byrdie, however, we have a different perspective. The thing is, when we talk about hair, makeup, and skincare, we’re not really talking about hair, makeup, and skincare. We’re talking about what that specific style, shade, or product can do for the person wearing it. And if it happens to accentuate a person’s natural beauty while giving them added confidence or bolstering their personal identity, well… we don’t think that’s so vain or frivolous. And we think everyone should be able to experience that.
There’s so much more to being a beauty junkie than a love of products—there’s an ethical, social, and environmentally conscious aspect to it as well. In fact, as a culture, we are consuming more consciously, and we are looking for more ways to give back. And there are so many beauty-related organizations that allow us to help out other people and the planet.
Here, we’re highlighting eight incredible charities (and general practices) to support in your quest to give back through beauty.
1. Benefit Brow Bar
For the month of May, Benefit is donating 100% of all proceeds from its brow wax services to charities empowering women; these include Girls Inc., The Princess Project, and Step Up. The brand has already raised and donated over $6.3 million dollars since 2015, so this is just the latest installment of its philanthropical pursuits. So, calling everyone in need of a May brow wax, we urge you to head straight for a Benefit brow bar.
2. Look Good Feel Better
The Look Good Feel Better Foundation works with the American Cancer Society and the Professional Beauty Association to provide free beauty services to women undergoing cancer treatment. Not only does it boost women’s confidence, but it also provides a community setting for making connections and boosting morale. Beauty professionals are encouraged to volunteer their services. But even for those of us who aren’t professionals, there are many different roles to fill, like organizing group programs and providing assistance during makeup sessions.
3. Lipstick Angels
Similar in mission to Look Good Feel Better, Lipstick Angels uses the power of beauty to lift patients’ spirits. As the organization states, “Lipstick Angels provide complimentary, personalized one-on-one beauty and skincare services by professional makeup artists at the patient’s bedside or while they are receiving chemotherapy infusions when they are at their most vulnerable.” Volunteers and donations are always welcome.
4. Wands for Wildlife
This one’s for the beauty-obsessed and animal-obsessed. This genius organization uses old mascara and brow wands to remove harmful pests like fly eggs, larvae, and ticks, from animals’ fur. Mascara wands expedite the removal process, meaning our furry friends in need are made comfortable quicker. Go to the organization’s website to learn where to send your clean brushes, donate, or volunteer.
5. Your Local LGBTQ Center
This is another cause close to our hearts. Many trans and nonbinary people rely on donated beauty products to feel safe and secure in their identity, especially while transitioning. So donate that palette you were gifted or that shade of blush that you bought but never opened; it might end up being more impactful than you know. Call your local center to learn how to donate your unused beauty products.
6. Choose Charitable and Vegan Brands
There’s no shortage of amazing beauty brands that partner with, donate to, or support positive organizations. Take, for example, Renée Rouleau’s Cosmetic Donation Program, where customers can mail their unused makeup and skincare products for them to donate to The Family Place, a shelter for women affected by domestic violence in Dallas.
Buying vegan and cruelty-free beauty products is also an easy way to ensure that you’re not inadvertently supporting animal cruelty. Some of our favorite brands produce 100% vegan products, like Kat Von D, Milk Makeup, Pacifica, Le Labo, Hourglass, Too Faced, and Cover FX. So next time you’re picking up a new palette or powder, check to see if it’s on Leaping Bunny’s approved cruelty-free list first.
7. Donate Your Hair
This isn’t exactly makeup-related, but it’s a huge way beauty lovers can give back. For people who have lost their hair, a wig can offer a huge boost of confidence. Whether you donate to Wigs for Kids or Locks of Love, you’re giving an incredibly impactful gift. So chop your hair into that bob you’ve always wanted to try, and send your strands to somebody who needs them.
8. Embrace a Minimal Routine
This tip is just as beneficial to your wallet as it is to the environment. And it’s really simple. Ready? Here it is. Let your beauty products run their course before purchasing replacements. (We’re not advocating that you keep products past their expiration, of course. Mascara should be replaced every three months or so, but that doesn’t mean you need six of them at once.)
We know it’s hard to limit product purchases. As beauty editors, we relate to the beauty hoarder life. But too much product is bad for the environment, your headspace, and your minimalistic aesthetic.